Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 3/24/12
The Lakers put Ramon Sessions into the starting lineup for the first time, and he was at the controls for a Lakers offense that did little wrong in the early going in a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. Sessions' numbers weren't spectacular, but there was urgency to the Lakers on offense that was lacking while Derek Fisher was starting most of the season. Lakers coach Mike Brown reserved the right to switch away from Sessions in five or 10 games, but he said his "gut" told him to try it now. The Lakers have another home game Sunday night against Memphis. So far, so good. Sessions had 20 points and 11 assists -- and the Lakers posted a season-high 33 team assists on their 40 field goals. Steve Blake was demoted from the starting lineup to the bench again. He started four games after Fisher was traded to Houston, but the Lakers only won two of them. Blake has two more years on his contract after this one. Sessions can opt out of his contract or stay for one more year. NOTES, QUOTES Lakers own NBA's best home record --The Lakers are the best Western Conference home team in the NBA: They improved to 20-3 at home by beating the Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers were motivated to right the ship after losing at Staples Center in their previous outing, letting down against the Utah Jazz on Sunday night. --The Lakers have moved ahead of Utah into third-to-last place in the NBA rankings for three-point shooting. Charlotte is last. But the Lakers struggled against a zone defense sprung by Portland coach Kaleb Canales in the second quarter Friday night. Despite scoring 103 points, the Lakers shot 31.6 percent on three-pointers. QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't have many complaints, offensively." -- Lakers coach Mike Brown, after Ramon Sessions' first game as a starter ROSTER REPORT PLAYER NOTES: --F Matt Barnes continues to get more action these days with Lakers coach Mike Brown souring on rookie guard Andrew Goudelock. Barnes has been playing more minutes at backup shooting guard in addition to backup small forward. Brown praised Barnes' ability to provide spacing and movement in the offense, and he had nine points, five rebounds, five assists and three blocks in 25 minutes Friday night versus Portland. --G Kobe Bryant made clear in an interview with KSPN-AM 710 radio that he likes where the Lakers are headed this season, especially after acquiring Ramon Sessions. Bryant said: "We are a championship-caliber team. I've never understood the talk about us not being a contender." --F Josh McRoberts contributed good second-half defense Friday night against Portland All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, who had shredded the Lakers for 21 first-half points. Aldridge had just eight in the second half, guarded mostly by Pau Gasol and McRoberts, and the Lakers won. McRoberts played 22 minutes compared to three for his platoon partner Troy Murphy. MEDICAL WATCH: --No significant injuries. ROTATION: Starters: --Point guard Ramon Sessions --Shooting guard Kobe Bryant --Small forward Metta World Peace --Power forward Pau Gasol --Center Andrew Bynum Bench: --Guard Steve Blake --Forward Matt Barnes --Forward Josh McRoberts --Forward Troy Murphy
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